Bicycle your way to discover heritage city

Bicycle your way to discover heritage city

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Tour:  Vinay Parameshwarappa and Stephen Farrel. pics by special arrangement

“ When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realised that the Lord doesn’t work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me.” - Emo Philips

Gone are the days when cycle was the only mode of transport. It was a joy to weave through the sea of students walking, during school lunch hour recess on bicycles, have food and ride back in no time to attend the afternoon sessions.

Now everyone is on the move on the gas guzzlers and the joy of riding on bicycles with the wind blowing on your face and the hair is missing.

It is also true that the only way to discover a town or a city you visit or live in is to either walk the lanes and bylanes or bicycle to remote places to understand the history and the lives of the people.

Concept of cycling

Two people who have come together to promote this concept of cycling and walking tour in Mysore are Stephen Farrel and Vinay Parameswarappa. Farrel 54, from England and Vinay, 28, who came to Mysore to study and later fell in love with the city, say that they have different perspectives about looking at things which actually helps balance the way they look at India’s second cleanest city when they take people on ‘Mycycle’ tours.

“Mysore has so much to offer but we are sad to discover that the ownership among Mysoreans is missing a bit,” the duo tell City Herald. Stephen a trainer who focuses on corporate social responsibility says that his first impression of Mysore was, when he was traveling on the train to the city standing on the footboard watching the lush green fields on either side of railway track.

“Since the last eight years I have always been coming back to Mysore,” he says.

Option

Farrel after experiencing cycling trips in Delhi and in Stockholm, Sweden and Vinay who also has a few friends in Kerala doing adventure tours and his own experience in Istanbul, thought that the best way to discover a city, which has a healthier and faster option, is to promote cycling.

Mysore being a tourist hub, tourists come here for a longer stay. Also many living in the city do not know the importance of the heritage tag that it enjoys. “It is not the usual popular tourist destinations that Farrel and Vinay take you around when you go on the cycle tours with them.

It is the small lanes and bylanes, that look so fresh early in the morning with women drawing rangolis, the fort near the central jail, the government guest house or the hub of handicraft Mandi Mohalla they talk about in detail that fascinates one,” said Rakesh Babu, director of a software company in the city.

To popularise and promote safe cycling, the duo have already given two cycles to a couple of women who are the mothers of children studying in a Montessori school.

Communication

“80 per cent of engineering students do not have communication skills and they do not realise that it is top quality communication that comes first and then the technical skills,” said Vinay and added that they were trying to involve student volunteers from NIE, JCE, VVCE and mass communication from Mysore University to promote cycling and walking tours.

The three hour cycle ride is an exhilarating experience which creates intense, possibly personal life changing experiences, said Farrel and Vinay.

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